How to Build Trust to Maintain Long-Term Relationships


Nothing is more important in a relationship than trust. Whether it’s family, a friend, a soulmate, or a business colleague, the whole partnership revolves around the confidence you develop towards one another. Without that trust, the relationship will never last.

Developing such a high level of trust is a challenge for everybody. It is human nature to be cautious of people we don’t know or who have ideas we do not embrace. However, relationships can never grow without overcoming this internal conflict and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. So, what are the key aspects of gaining trust in a relationship?

Assume the Best in People

When we meet somebody new, it is natural to fall into a mindset of suspicion and distrust. However, maintaining that attitude throughout the relationship will only end in disaster. Fight the urge to think the worst of somebody, and focus on the positive aspects of their personality. Long-term trust develops from that initial leap of faith to assume that their intentions are good.

Of course, if, over time, their actions play out a different story, then that trust is quickly eroded. However, you have lost nothing! You can move on and continue your life knowing that you did your best, and it just wasn’t to be.

Honesty Is Essential

People are never going to trust you if you’re not honest. If you hide your feelings or lie about aspects of your life, they will only come back to bite you if the other person finds out. Being truthful and genuine is a crucial part of any strong relationship, and the more others see your honesty, the more they will be open about their lives.

Be Transparent

This one is more related to business partnerships but can still apply in other areas. Being transparent about your future targets leaves the other person in no doubt about how you expect the relationship to develop. If you have big plans that build on your initial ideas, it is only fair that you let other parties know where you are heading. Hiding this level of detail will only dissolve trust over time and could be the source of a fallout you can easily avoid.

Tackle the Difficult Conversations

Long-term relationships will naturally have their ups and downs. There will always be times when the conversation is awkward, and you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Making this type of communication the norm takes away the anxiety both of you may experience when things get rocky. Tackle the elephant in the room, talk about the things you can’t let go of, and vent when you need to. But it isn’t all about you. Make sure the other person feels comfortable doing exactly the same.

Embrace Your Mistakes

No one is perfect. Mistakes will happen, and you will do things that inadvertently upset the other person. When this inevitably happens, take control of your actions and admit your mistakes. Hiding away or shifting the blame will only reduce the trust between you. However, owning up and accepting that you did wrong will only strengthen your relationship.

Have Trust in Yourself

It’s all well and good setting out to trust the other person, but the relationship will go nowhere if you don’t trust your intentions. Believe in yourself, and realize that you are only trying to be the best version of yourself. Some relationships will falter, and that is okay. It doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong; it just means that there were too many differences to make a long-term friendship work. Have confidence in your choices, and trust yourself to try and make the most of every situation.

Relationships of all types rely on trust. While your inner voice may tell you to be cautious in any new situation, long-term relationships are built in those early stages when you get to know one another. Understanding this and trusting yourself will give you the best shot at forming meaningful relationships.

About the Author

Don Dodds

Don Dodds is the founder and managing partner at M16 Marketing. He is a highly successful entrepreneur, mentor, coach and a recognized expert in digital marketing and technology. He has extensive experience working with and creating success for businesses in wealth management, mortgage banking, law, health care, safety management, logistics and technology.